Editor's Note: Consumer loyalty is ever evolving, requiring marketers to offer enticing experiences that meet increasing consumer demand. Couple this with things like privacy concerns or how quickly channels like mobile are rapidly growing, it may seem overwhelming for marketers to figure out what to prioritize for their business. Here are some examples to pay attention to.
Beyond initially attracting visitors, customer retention is one of the greatest challenges a retailer faces. There are many ways to build customer loyalty in your business, such as establishing a long-term relationship, understanding clients' wants and needs, and communication. Customers love when they feel like a priority, and if you make them feel that way, you are way ahead of the game.
Understand and engage your customers
To have a long-term relationship with your customers, you first need to understand who they are. Identify their preferences and buying trends, their shopping habits and what they're looking for, and track whether they come back for more of the same products and services. Offering customers valuable recommendations that resolve their issues will not only result in sales but also build customer confidence.
Train your sales team not to simply let customers walk out. Engaging with each customer from the moment they enter can make a big difference. To coax a consumer into purchasing, however, your team must understand their wants and needs. Not everyone is sure of what they want. Consumers may enter your store with a specific intention to buy, or with a particular product in mind, until other options are made known to them.
So how is a sales agent supposed to figure out what they want? Visitors are not always sure of their options, but introducing ideas about a product—and creating the opportunity for it by educating them—can be impactful and effective. Providing multiple and/or better options can persuade many customers to purchase more of your goods.
Personalize the experience. Take customers on a tour to see what else catches their attention. Make sure your team is knowledgeable about your offerings. The more information you provide, the more educated the customers are and the more they’ll realize they can use your products and services.
Encourage your sales team to personally get to know your products
When your sales team is familiar with your products and services, they can be walking testimonials. Sharing personal experiences goes a long way toward getting to know your clientele on a personal level. For example, when a client is looking for a new couch to use in their home, an employee who personally owns that couch can send them in the right direction and share their thoughts on it.
Team members should also put in extra effort to ask questions and learn what features the customer wants; for the couch example, this might be in terms of comfort, design aesthetic or theme for their home. This will provide the employee with a better understanding of the customer, and it can lead to a bonding experience between them. There is emotion behind purchasing. Customers who relate well with the sales agent will be more likely to purchase. The importance of developing this relationship cannot be overstated.
Implement a customer loyalty rewards program
If you are trying to attract more consumers to your store, you may also want to implement a rewards program. The first stage of setting up this type of program is to formulate a strategy, which will often include collecting basic customer data. Having that information on hand allows for greater customer engagement. For example, a retailer can use an email service, such as MailChimp, to send out email blasts to shoppers about ongoing specials, promotions or coupons.
Offering a rewards program has proven benefits. According to research, 68% of regular customers will participate if a loyalty program is offered. Customers who enroll in the program are more likely to spend more money with you since they have an established relationship with you and receive perks in exchange for their business. Consumers who connect to your brand, products and services are also more inclined to be loyal and participate in the program.
Build a virtual presence that nurtures your customer relationships
Another factor to consider is communication between your company and your customers. Set up an online presence with a website and social media accounts, and consider hiring a service to manage your various platforms. Post informative blogs on your site, and publicize them on social media. Customers can follow your pages and get alerts about special offers or promotions.
You can also interact with your patrons online, making your clients feel like a priority and feel more connected to the company. Encourage customers to ask questions and communicate with you directly about any issues. Install a chatbot that can be programmed to answer basic questions so that customers always have a source of information, even when your staff are busy with other customers or out of the office.
Follow up with customers
If you haven’t seen or heard from a customer in a while, reach out to them. Send them a birthday card. Invite them back with a percent-off coupon. Ask your loyal customers to post positive online reviews and share your website on their social media accounts to educate potential customers, build a buzz and help your business grow.
These are just a few examples of how retailers may increase client loyalty. Keep these in mind, do your homework and be innovative in your approach to attracting return consumers. And above all, implement ALL of these tips with a smile.